Decentralized intersection control techniques have received recent attention in the literature as means to overcome scalability issues associated with networkwide intersection control. Chief among these techniques are backpressure (BP) control algorithms, which were originally developed of for large wireless networks. In addition to being light-weight computationally, they come with guarantees of performance at the network level, specifically in terms of network-wide stability. The dynamics in backpressure control are represented using networks of point queues and this also applies to all of the applications to traffic control. As such, BP in traffic fail to capture the spatial distribution of vehicles along the intersection links and, consequently, spill-back dynamics.This paper derives a position weighted backpressure (PWBP) control policy for network traffic applying continuum modeling principles of traffic dynamics and thus capture the spatial distribution of vehicles along network roads and spill-back dynamics. PWBP inherits the computational advantages of traditional BP. To prove stability of PWBP, (i) a Lyapunov functional that captures the spatial distribution of vehicles is developed; (ii) the capacity region of the network is formally defined in the context of macroscopic network traffic; and (iii) it is proved, when exogenous arrival rates are within the capacity region, that PWBP control is network stabilizing. We conduct comparisons against a real-world adaptive control implementation for an isolated intersection. Comparisons are also performed against other BP approaches in addition to optimized fixed timing control at the network level. These experiments demonstrate the superiority of PWBP over the other control policies in terms of capacity region, networkwide delay, congestion propagation speed, recoverability from heavy congestion (outside of the capacity region), and response to incidents.
We propose a statistical learning-based traffic speed estimation method that uses sparse vehicle trajectory information. Using a convolutional encoder-decoder based architecture, we show that a well trained neural network can learn spatio-temporal traffic speed dynamics from time-space diagrams. We demonstrate this for a homogeneous road section using simulated vehicle trajectories and then validate it using real-world data from the Next Generation Simulation (NGSIM) program. Our results show that with probe vehicle penetration levels as low as 5%, the proposed estimation method can provide a sound reconstruction of macroscopic traffic speeds and reproduce realistic shockwave patterns, implying applicability in a variety of traffic conditions. We further discuss the model's reconstruction mechanisms and confirm its ability to differentiate various traffic behaviors such as congested and free-flow traffic states, transition dynamics, and shockwave propagation. We also provide a comparison against a widely used adaptive smoothing technique used for the same purpose and demonstrate the superiority of the proposed approach, even with probe vehicle lower penetration levels.
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